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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 920

What is that the Tamil Tigers are fighting for? – WAPS poses question to Padayachie, Deputy Minister of South Africa

Melbourne, 21 April, (Asiantribune.com): What is it that the Tamil Tigers are fighting to be liberated from for which they are killing moderate Tamil politicians along the way? World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka has posed this pertinent question.

Furthermore WAPS pointed out to Mr. Radhakrishna Lutchmana Padayachie, Deputy Minister of Communications, Government of South Africa that the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka have just killed Jeyaraj Fernandopoulle, a Tamil Catholic, and Highways Minister and Chief Government Whip.

WAPS has also asked “Why all these killings of their own people let alone the Sinhalese they killed including President Ranasinghe Premadasa?”

“There were a few statements in your speech that stood poignant which we had difficulty to endorse, as they would relate to the Tamil ‘Tiger’ separatist movement. You said, “I think, I am convinced, the thing that drives us in wanting to be of support to a solution in Sri Lanka, is because we in South Africa and particularly in the African National Congress, we still consider ourselves as a liberation movement,” WAPS has pointed out.

In the letter addressed to South African Deputy Minister Lutchmana Padayachie, who made a key note address at the International Seminar on Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka Organized by Global Peace Support Group, London, WAPS has said that “We consider it an honour to be able to provide you with an opinion on what you had to say to our eminent colleagues at the seminar on the Sri Lankan conflict as we too have had an on going interest on the subject.”

Given below the full text of the letter written by World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka to Mr. Radhakrishna Lutchmana Padayachie, Deputy Minister of Communications, Government of South Africa:

18 April 2008

Mr. Radhakrishna Lutchmana Padayachie
Deputy Minister of Communications
Government of South Africa

Sir,

Your keynote speech at the International Seminar on Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka Organized by Global Peace Support Group, London

We consider it an honour to be able to provide you with an opinion on what you had to say to our eminent colleagues at the seminar on the Sri Lankan conflict as we too have had an on going interest on the subject.

We suspect that the speech was engineered to an audience who had an intrinsic interest on the Tamil separatist movement and obviously heard what they wanted to hear to boost the Tamil Tiger cause.

We also understood from your speech that you had given an audience to two Tamil gentlemen who you described as assertive and who demonstrated that spirit that you admired, which is the spirit of the tiger.

Now that you have heard the’ Tamil Truth’ from these two assertive Tamil ‘Tigers’ which helped to mould your opinion on the subject, permit us to provide you with ‘Tamil Facts’, which we hope will convince you to re-think your conclusions and massage your thoughts to come up with an opinion of fairness, which will be based on Facts.

There were a few statements in your speech that stood poignant which we had difficulty to endorse, as they would relate to the Tamil ‘Tiger’ separatist movement. You said, “I think, I am convinced, the thing that drives us in wanting to be of support to a solution in Sri Lanka, is because we in South Africa and particularly in the African National Congress, we still consider ourselves as a liberation movement.”

The pertinent question that you have to ask is, “What is it that the Tamil Tigers are fighting to be liberated from for which they are killing moderate Tamil politicians along the way?”

They just killed Jeyaraj Fernandopoulle, a Tamil Catholic, and Highways Minister and Chief Government Whip.

Earlier they killed Lakshman Kathiragamar a brilliant Tamil Foreign Minister; Appapillai Amirthalingham, the Leader of the Opposition who nurtured these youth militants as his progeny in the late 70s; Neelan Thiruchelvam, a Tamil intellectual and Constitutional expert and Professor at Harvard University; Ketheshwaran Loganathan, the Deputy Secretary General of the Government Peace Secretariat; Alfred Duraiappah, the Mayor of Jaffna; A Thiagarajah, the MP for Vadukoddai; K. Alalasundaran, MP for Kopai; V. Dharmalingam, MP for Manipay, and the list goes on.

It is incumbent upon you to ask “Why all these killings of their own people let alone the Sinhalese they killed including President Ranasinghe Premadasa?”

Apartheid, system of legalized racial segregation enforced by the National Party (NP) South African Government between 1948 and 1994, which arose from a history of settler rule and Dutch and British colonialism was a profoundly valid reason why you had a liberation movement. A racial segregation law that separated the whites from the blacks and even banned inter-marriage was an anathema. Most of us, who then lived in major cities abroad in the 1950s and 60s, like London, England, joined you to demonstrate in public along the streets of London and opposite South Africa House in Trafalgar Square, as we believed in your cause.

This was expressed sincerely in a published poem ‘Looking back’ by one of our members who said:

The clock strikes the midnight hour
My bones creak under the heavy weight
Of having survived the ‘60s in the West.
I now feel old at thirty-three
with my skull getting bare
With my dropping hair
Opposite South Africa House in Trafalgar Square
On a cold-shivering spring day of 1960
Although the night was bleak and misty
I demonstrated in silence
When jet fighters and armoured cars were called
To quell an anti-apartheid demonstration by blacks
When eighty of them were shot to death
Most in the back
The order was to kill
The blacks of Sharpeville
I resent you lot
Get off my back…”

But we will not do so for the Tamil Tiger cause as we believe that they are a bunch of humbugs as there is nothing that comes even close to what South Africa’s Blacks endured during the apartheid times as there is nothing of that nature going on in Sri Lanka. Then why are the Tamil Tigers warring for their separate state? This is something that you have to come to grips with.

You alluded to, “I was indeed quite moved by the things that the good paediatrician doctor from Australia mentioned and the good professor and Karen…”

It does seem that Dr. John Whitehall, the “good Paediatrician from Australia” did pull at your heartstrings with stories of his romance with the Tamil Tigers during his two visits to Killinochchi in 2005. If what he recited to you was an extension of his article, “Teaching Tamil Tigers” in the Medical Journal of Australia, Vol.187, Number 1/12, December 2007, then you need to decipher the motives in what he spoke.

What Dr. Whitehall did not suspect was that the Tamil Tigers could smell a naive ‘white-man’ who approaches them stretching a helping hand accepting their gun-totting culture, as a potential courier to convey to the world their embellished lies as to why they are serial killers of innocent Sinhalese civilians to claim their, mono-ethnic, separate, racist Tamil state, Eelam. So they pounce on their victims and brainwash them, and let them loose to tell their story as Dr. Whitehall did on March 22 at the International Seminar on Conflict Resolution in Sri Lanka. A perfect courier, a perfect puppet on strings manipulated from Killinochchi. Obviously the Tamil Tigers were right as they did find their naïve ‘white-man’ with a respected profession to be their courier of their lies to the world, as he obviously passed the litmus test having pulled the heartstrings of a Deputy Minister of the South African Government in the direction of their cause.

What bothers us is Dr. Whitehall’s inability to understand this separatist war. He romanticises the Tamil Tigers and then pities them complaining how inadequate the terrorist hospitals were, and later a revelation opens his mind and says, “I later learned of economic sanctions and under funding by Colombo.”

This is embarrassing. Does he really expect the Sri Lankan Government to fund the terrorist hospital facilities whose clients are their antagonists who are trying to tear asunder the country they govern and wanting to run their own“de facto” state? Doesn’t this naïve ‘white-man’ understand that these Tamil Tigers are the architects of their own destiny? That they have a choice, either to keep on warring for their mythical Eelam and unnecessarily dying for an untenable cause, or give up this stupidity and join the mainstream democratic politics as most of the Tamil terrorists from other groups have done through the years and got elected to public office to serve their people as Cabinet Ministers, Mayors and local government councillors. This is silly. This is foolish.

And this ‘good paediatrician’ should stop romanticising lamenting on behalf of the Tamil Tigers who have violated human rights by recruiting thousands of child soldiers and sending them to defend the front lines knowing very well that these kids will be cannon fodder and would return in match-box caskets. Dr. Whitehall saw 17,000 graves in their war cemeteries, but did not have the wisdom or courage to confront the Tamil Tiger hierarchy saying “Stop murdering your own kids, when they really should be playing with dolls and learning that 1+1=2 at school. He should stop knocking the Sri Lankan government and bad mouthing it at international seminars, for acting like any government would do to defend its territory and guard the lives of its citizen from marauding terrorists. Wouldn’t your people in South Africa expect the same from your Government?

As for “Karen”, we assume that she is Karen Parker, the handsomely paid lawyer who is defending the Tamil separatist cause, and that is her business to satisfy her clients’ needs. So her statements don’t really count in this debate.

If such is the Fact why is there a Tamil separatist movement, you may ask, why? Let us help you to decipher the reasons why.

The ‘Tiger’ movement was born out of a student organization, whose members were unemployed frustrated college students. Tamil students led by Ponnaduarai Sathyaseelan from Urumpirai, who was elected the President of the Students’ Union in the early 70s. This youth movement later became the Tamil Youth Front.

Their defiance gradually gravitated towards radicalism, clamouring for secession without recourse to terrorism. Then many Tamil politicians came into the act, lead by a bright, young Tamil lawyer, Appapillai Amirthalingam, who was later shot and killed by the Tamil Tigers. These Tamil politicians took the easy route to popularity by exploiting the basic needs of this militant youth. An economic problem shared by the whole country was portrayed as an ethnic problem borne by the Tamil youth alone. Jobs, in 2008, are still hard to come by in Sri Lanka for students of all ethnic groups graduating from Universities. That is the ground reality. This anomaly is just not prone specifically to the Tamils.

If these two assertive Tamil “Tigers’ and your eminent colleagues gave you the impression that the Tamils of Sri Lanka were oppressed similar to what South Africa’s Blacks went through under apartheid which created “Bantustans” as your reserves akin to the US Indian Reservations, Canadian First Nation Reserves, or Australian Aboriginal Reserves, then it was patently false.

The lifestyle of relative comfort enjoyed by the Tamils of Sri Lanka during the pre-colonial and post-colonial times is something that the Black South Africans could never have dreamt of during the apartheid times. They were a ‘privileged’ minority indeed in Sri Lanka, compared to the ‘wronged’ majority, the Sinhalese. There have been no Reservations established for the minority Tamils, none whatsoever. According to the Dutch Thesavalamai law no outsider from the Tamil community could buy even one square-inch of property in the Northern Jaffna peninsula, but they sure can own acres of land in any part of Sri Lanka. The Tamils own 75% of the real estate in a very posh suburb, Wellawatte – in the capital of Colombo. Did they tell you that? We doubt it.

You should figure that one out. They have been discriminated and been oppressed by the government of Sri Lanka, they might tell you but we have told you the Tamil Fact and it is incumbent upon you to question them. Then why this separatist war, you might well ask. “Why have they come to me for support” is a pertinent question that you yourself should answer.

You said that the two assertive Tamil ‘Tigers’ had come to you “…to talk to us about challenges and problems that we have experienced in establishing a post democratic state, to talk to us about how we addressed the problem of transforming ourselves to a ruling party from a revolutionary movement.”

Without taking away what you have achieved as a revolutionary movement and now to govern your country democratically, I am surprised that these two assertive Tamil ‘Tigers’ did not go to Douglas Devananda, a former terrorist who is now a Cabinet Minister in the present Government. He is a ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ success story, and the Tamil Tigers have tried to unsuccessfully assassinate him twelve times. When a working political-laboratory of a – terrorist becoming a democrat, who believes in the ballot rather than the bullet – getting elected in a democratic process – and finally becoming a Cabinet Minister - is an awesome success story, it is difficult for us to understand why the two assertive Tamils didn’t want to find out from him and his party the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) “how have you achieved for us Tamils with the ballot which we are trying to achieve with the bullet?” Why travel 20,000 miles to meet you all has nonplussed us. This is nonsense and it is all smoke and mirrors for the consumption of the international community.

Don’t you wonder why the assertive Tamil Tigers outfit wanted to kill Devanada twelve times? Is it because they do not believe in democrats, or was it because they did not want the world to see and read of this success story – a terrorist becoming a democrat, as it would quash their brand of Tamil Tiger ruthless terrorism and the international community would tell them, “pack it up and follow the foot steps of your former terrorist colleague Douglas Devananda”. Or is it because they want nothing but their mythical mono-ethnic, separate, racist state, Eelam, come hell or high water? Well, this is a valid question you should pursue as the Tamil Fact is far from what they might have told you.

We know that you have met Mr. Douglas Devananda during his visit to South Africa, and no doubt in your briefing notes you may have come to know the path he took to become a Cabinet Minister after being a Kalashnikov-totting and hand grenade throwing Tamil terrorist in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That, in 1978 he was sent by his then affiliated terrorist organization, EROS, for military training with Al Fatah of the Palestinian Liberation Organization is well known. That he again underwent weapons training in the camps of Dehra Dun at the foothills of the Himalayas in India in October 1983, under the auspices of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is also known. He was one of the terrorist prisoners incarcerated at the Welikada Jail who escaped death during the prison riots in 1983. He fought the separatist war for their Eelam shoulder to shoulder with the Tamil Tiger leader, V. Prabhakaran.

One fine morning Devananda woke up and decided to eschew the path of militancy and to work for the rights of the Tamil-speaking people with the cooperation of the progressive forces in the South of Sri Lanka. That day Devananda decided to enter the democratic mainstream as Kathiravelu Nithyananda Douglas Devananda, and he happens to be the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare in the Government of Sri Lanka’s Cabinet today, and the rest is history. Although the Tamil Tigers may not, we applaud him for being intelligent, sensible and being smart to make the right choice in his political life.

Sri Lanka’s Tamil-Terrorist-turned-Democrat-Political-Laboratory that is still a work in progress should not be ignored by you or by the two assertive Tamil Tiger gentlemen. It is essential that all three of you make a genuine effort to study them.

PLOTE , The Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam and TMVP, Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal, gave up their terrorism and sought the ballot in a democratic process to work for the welfare of their people dropping the idea of shooting bullets. So what is the difficulty for the Tamil Tigers to pursue the same Trail for Peace? Or is it their tunnel vision of wanting their mythical Eelam and nothing more and nothing less, which is blinding them to wanting to join the main stream of democracy as the other hardcore terrorists did? It is important that you find that out.

The latest phenomenon is the Karuna Faction of the Tamil Tigers from the East of Sri Lanka who quit the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in 2004. They formed their political party TMVP and won the local Government elections in March after the Tamil Tigers were kicked out of the East after 14 years of their fascist control of the area just 10 months ago. This vindicates the decision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to liberate the east from the hold of the Tamil Tigers and hold local government elections. That is a success story for Democracy in Sri Lanka. Why cannot the Tamil Tigers as well as you and other international Sri Lanka watchers accept it?

What cannot be ignored by you, nor the two assertive Tamil Tigers who met you, and your eminent colleagues at the seminar is what the new Mayor of Batticaloa District, a Tamil, Ms. Sivageetha Prabhakaran said – “We wish that our people in the North too will breathe the air of freedom soon.” And this is what we too wish for and support her unequivocally.

You said, “It would appear that the government of Sri Lanka is conducting itself as if it is recently buoyed by certain military victories in the eastern province and have become convinced, and this is our reading from afar, that they can achieve a similar result in the LTTE strongholds in the North”.

You seem to doubt it. After all wasn’t the east too a strong hold of the LTTE for 14 long years? We certainly don’t subscribe to that view of yours.

We are disappointed you feel that, “A process must be set in place to re-instate the ceasefire agreement of 2001”. That is a death wish for democracy in Northern Sri Lanka, and we are disappointed and disagree with you profoundly. And here are 10 reasons why, from a catalogue of dozens.

1. From the very signing of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) on 22nd February 2002 the sovereignty of Sri Lanka was steadily and visibly eroded to the point where Sri Lanka was in danger of being reduced to a nominal Sovereign State. Soon Sri Lanka would have been a sovereign shell, the major attributes of a sovereign State the capacity to govern, to resolve justifiable issues, to enforce the law, to protect its citizens throughout the entirety of its territory were being drained away by stealth, fractured by assault and worn down by attrition.

2. By July 14, 2006, according to Norwegian led Scandinavian Ceasefire Monitors the Tamil Tigers had violated the agreement 7,308 times compared to the government forces violating it just under 100 times.

3. During the period of the CFA the Tamil Tigers sneaked in 11 shiploads of conventional military weapons.

4. During the CFA they brought in containers which were not checked by Customs which was a provision of the CFA, four dismantled propeller driven Czech-built Zlin Z-143 planes which they turned into night bombers

5. During the CFA they built an airstrip at Iranamadu to lift off these planes to bomb the Katunayake Air Base.

6. Attacked the Police Stations at Point Pedro and Valachchanai and the Special Task Force Base at Kanchankudah soon after the commencement of the CFA.

7. Assassinated Lakshman Kadiragamar, the Foreign Minister, who was also a Tamil on 12 August 2005.

8. Forced the Scandinavian Monitoring Mission Monitors from Denmark, Finland and Sweden to withdraw by refusing to give assurances of protection and effectively truncating the Mission in September 2006.

9. Killed 98 sailors of the Navy by crashing a truck-bomb into a naval convoy at Digampatana in the Habarana area of Matale District on 16 October 2006.

10. Attacked a busload of innocent civilians by detonating a claymore mine killing 60 civilians at Kebitigollewa on 15 June 2006.

With these bold violations, we are absolutely surprised that you have ignored the right to life of innocent civilians that the Tamil Tigers killed during the CFA in wanting to re-instate it. We don’t agree nor do we want the Sri Lankan government to abdicate its responsibility to guard the lives of its innocent civilians from these marauding terrorists just because the international community wants the CFA reinstated. You seem to have indirectly provided a lifeline to these ruthless terrorists during your keynote speech.

Finally, we will give you two Tamil FACTS to provide you reasons why we assert that the Tamils are a ‘privileged minority’, and they should stop coming to people like you spewing out lies and half-truths to win your sympathy and seeking support for their separate state Eelam, carved out of one-third of the Sri Lankan territory bordered by 60% of the coast line just for 3.9% (World Watch Stats, 2007) of the total Sri Lankan population of 21 million.

The two assertive Tamil Tigers who met you no doubt croaked that the Tamils have been discriminated or marginalized when it comes to employment. To the contrary here are the Tamil FACTS that would redeem the Sinhalese majority, as the Tamil TRUTH is a pernicious lie.

In 1981, two years prior to the riots the percentages of members of the minority Tamil community (12.6%) in the public work force did not justify the claim of being discriminated, as shown in the following percentages of Tamils in the work force:

Doctors 35.1%; Dentists 24.7%; Engineers 34.9%; Land Surveyors 29.9%; Veterinary Surgeons 38.8%; Life scientists 41.5% Survey Draughtsman 27.8%, Engineering Technicians 24.3% and the Public Sector Demonstrators 15.9%.

The million dollar question that you need to come up with an answer to is, do these numbers justify warring for their own racist, mono-ethnic, separate Tamil state, Eelam killing innocent unarmed civilians in the thousands?

Education is another field in which the Tamils say they have been discriminated and the reason why they are fighting for their separate state, Eelam. That is an outright and foolish lie. Here are the Tamil FACTS so that you can be judge and jury on this high intensity complaint:

In 1981, two years prior to the infamous riots, schools in the Jaffna (North) Education District where the majority Tamils were educated were well supported and qualitatively superior in comparison with the rest of the schools elsewhere in the island.

The Jaffna Education District had 555 Government schools for a Tamil student population of 207,524, whereas the capital Colombo had only 251 such schools for a multi-ethnic (including Tamil) student population of 231,690. So why are the Tamil Tigers bellyaching, we ask!

The privileged position of the Jaffna Educational District schools was evident from the student facilities and amenities such as approved science laboratories. They were available in 41% of Jaffna schools compared to the all island average of 19.6.

So much for the disingenuous carping by the Tamil Tigers who have created killing fields all over the island, and have their child soldiers fall victims like scythed poppies shot by bullets of the defending army.

We rest our case, to prove that the griping Tamil Tigers, who are fighting for their Eelam and seeking sympathy from the international world are deceptive and have been leading every foreign sympathizer down the garden path. We hope that you too will not fall victim to that ploy.

I hope these Tamil Facts will give you an opportunity to reflect on what you said in your keynote speech and revise your thesis for future delivery.

Yours sincerely,

Ranjith Soysa
Spokesperson, Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), Victoria

President - Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), - Victoria
President - Sri Lanka United National Association (SLUNA) of Canada
President - Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR),NSW
President - Western Australian Society for Peace Unity and Rehabilitation, (WASPUR) in Sri Lanka
President - Sri Lankans Against Terrorism- NSW
President - Sinhala Cultural and Community Services F. Vic
President - Apey Shakthi- New Zealand
Coordinator - Hela Muthu Ketaya, New Zealand
President - Canadian Association for United Sri Lanka-Canada
President - Sri Lankan United National Association-Canada
President - Sinhala Centre- U.K
President - The International Campaign for the Liberation of the Sinhala Nation- U.K
President - Sinhala Association of Sri Lankans in the U.K
President - New York Society of United Sri Lankans-U.S.A
President - United Sinhalese Association in Italy- Rome.
President - Pacific Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka, Vic (National Office), Australia
President - Alliance Against Tamil Domination, UK
President - Veera Parakramabahu Foundation (VPF), NSW, Australia
President - First Society of Sri Lankan Professors in American Universities
President - First Society of Sri Lankan Professionals in Japan
President - Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), UK
President - FOSUS - FRIENDS OF SRI LANKA in US

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